Portimao: SRT race report

SRT shines in Portugal PORTIMAO, PORTUGAL. Bert Longin and James Ruffier gave SRT its second victory in the FIA GT championship. After Monza in 2008 the SRT Corvette C6.R crossed the line as the winner during the sixth meeting of ...

SRT shines in Portugal

PORTIMAO, PORTUGAL. Bert Longin and James Ruffier gave SRT its second victory in the FIA GT championship. After Monza in 2008 the SRT Corvette C6.R crossed the line as the winner during the sixth meeting of the 2009 championship in the Portuguese Algarve region. James Ruffier qualified the Corvette in second place on Saturday and after a superb race full of unexpected twists the team from Merchtem, Belgium was able to add a second victory in the highly acclaimed FIA GT championship to its tally. For Bert Longin it is already the fifth FIA GT win of his career, while for FIA GT3 champion James Ruffier it is the first time he could go onto the highest step of the podium.

The SRT Corvette of Bert Longin and James Ruffier had a brilliant start of the weekend. After two successful free practice sessions for the Portuguese heat of the FIA GT in Portimao, Frenchman James Ruffier drove to a fine second place in qualifying. Bert Longin's French teammate only had former F1 driver Enrique Bernoldi, also racing a Corvette C6.R, in front of him during the qualifying session. "Brilliant", beamed the Frenchman at the press conference on Saturday. "I feel really well on this circuit and really want to prove that I can compete at this level."

Both drivers were deeply impressed by the beautiful and brand new Portuguese circuit. "It is simply wonderful", underlined Patrick Selleslagh the opinion of his drivers.

James Ruffier started strong and easily maintained his position at the front. A minor collision with another Corvette damaged one of the rims of the C6.R however and Ruffier made an unexpected pit stop. Halfway the race it looked far from a win for SRT, "because James Ruffier did come into the pit unexpectedly after 30 minutes of racing with a broken rim. I do not know why he did not let us know, but apparently he had some problems with the radio. We will not get into that now", said Bert Longin at the post- race press conference. "We lost over 30 seconds and our chances of victory were gone, or so we thought. But you should never give up and then that safety car came out right when we needed it and we were back in it again. James finished it perfectly, and this is just excellent. Our car was great, the entire weekend, so the victory is a crown on a very successful weekend."

James Ruffier was full of praise for his teammate Bert Longin and the SRT team: "Bert drove a brilliant stint and the team was great all weekend. I had never thought of winning this season and am therefore feeling really well. Who knows, maybe we can continue like this at Paul Ricard...It is after all my home race, so why not?"

Longin and Ruffier are now third in the championship standings, a place they will defend with tooth and nail. The next race will take place at Paul Ricard, France on October 3 and 4.

-credit: srt

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Enrique Bernoldi , Bert Longin , James Ruffier